Backgammon: Where's this been all my life? (in Off-topic)

QBsutekh137 October 5 2008 5:52 PM EDT

OK, an extreme aside...

My wife and I finally got around to a honeymoon at the end of August. We went to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, and while the water was nice (I don't swim, but I was in the ocean every day, I love waves!), the food was nice, and all the free drinks were fantastic, we stumbled across an unlikely past-time that really hooked us: backgammon.

I had never played before. Luckily, we had brought Hoyle with us and we read up on it. They had gaming tables that were always empty (Jenga being the most popular game there, apparently, and even that was sparsely populated), so we would play a lot of backgammon and even take the board out to the beach of back to the room.

This game is fantastic. Where's it been all my life? I'm playing GNUbg like crazy now (slick interface and could probably win Monte Carlo), and I still can't win consistently on it's almost-easiest difficulty setting. And kids, man, as a kid this would be the greatest thing ever for teaching quick sums, logic, and sportsmanship (no greater frustration than losing a gammon to a lucky double by your opponent!)

So, anyone know of good books, sites, or otherwise to make me better at this game? I will eventually get lazy about it, I always do, but it really is a fun game. I petered out on chess (read: just wasn't good enough to really make me "feel" it), but this game is different.

Anyway, thought I would lighten the Sunday mood beleaguered by RoE changes. *smile*

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] October 5 2008 5:58 PM EDT

maybe I'll give it another shot... I just remember being annoyed

AdminJonathan October 5 2008 5:58 PM EDT

There's actual strategy involved?

I never got that impression. Maybe I'll have to get my in-laws to explain it to me. They play all the time, but so fast that I got the impression it was mostly luck. (But then they have been playing nightly for years and years.)

AdminJonathan October 5 2008 5:59 PM EDT

BTW, my current favorite board game: Power Grid.

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] October 5 2008 5:59 PM EDT

I didn't know you didn't know it.

AdminG Beee October 5 2008 6:40 PM EDT

Just because it's a game played with dice doesn't necessarily mean it has to be about luck.

I've played backgammon for years - great game. I play the MS version that came with XP often.

QBsutekh137 October 5 2008 6:57 PM EDT

Jonathan, that's what Katy (my wife) and I thought...just play it out, all luck. Then I played GNU on expert (not even it's highest level), and I couldn't win even in 10-12 games. When I did it was pure "racing" (just dicing the checkers home).

So yeah, there's more to it. As they say in the bg circles, "easy to learn, takes a lifetime to master)...

Bast, sorry, you never asked. *smile*

PearsonTritonRaveshaw October 5 2008 7:15 PM EDT

/me googles Backgammon

QBsutekh137 October 5 2008 7:23 PM EDT

Additionally, no game of luck would have world class championships like Monte Carlo. This isn't gambling... Super Jackpot in big tourneys purse something like 72,000 Euros (that's around $100,000 USD).

If the game were pure luck, I doubt they would bother with such tournaments. *smile* Just grab a computer program (google "GNU Backgammon"), install, and you will quickly see how complicated it can be. It's not chess -- the dice/luck still matter, GNU even calculates "luck" in analysis mode -- but it's far more than Go Fish or Farkle, or somesuch. A computer is probably the best at playing the odds long-term, but game to game, there's a lot of "there" there.

QBsutekh137 October 5 2008 7:24 PM EDT

GB, we should hook up on FIBS sometime. (internet backgammon server). I suck, but it would still be fun to play with someone I know. *smile*

InebriatedArsonist October 5 2008 7:25 PM EDT

Only one board game was worthy enough to merit an entire episode of Seinfeld, Sut.

Windwalker October 5 2008 7:30 PM EDT

Here's where I play. The competition is very good. Oh yeah it's free ;)

blackshadowshade October 5 2008 8:27 PM EDT

To hit or not to hit, that is the question.

[P]Mitt October 5 2008 10:40 PM EDT

I'm sorry, I think we've glossed over a VERY important fact that I never knew about Sut.

My wife and I finally got around to a honeymoon at the end of August.

Did I ever say congratulations?! I'm pretty sure I never did! So congratulations!

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] October 5 2008 10:51 PM EDT

My favorite game currently is Race for the Galaxy. This guy at work has brought a copy in for us to play every couple of days. It's awesome, and there's an expansion coming out soon too.

QBsutekh137 October 6 2008 12:05 AM EDT

Thanks, Mitt! You'd have had no way of knowing, so no problem there. I'm a pretty private fella. *smile*

Two board games ranking above 8.0 on BoardGameGeek... Thanks, Jonathan and Verifex... Those games sounds pretty awesome...

Maybe when I get bored of the backgammon, I'll take a look. *wink*

Josh [Cult of the Valaraukar] October 6 2008 4:39 AM EDT

I used to play when I was like 12, that was 7 years ago and I've completely forgotten how. It was fun if I remember though. I think the best way to get better is to keep playing. You will either learn from your opponent or something you do on your own just by chance.

QBsutekh137 October 6 2008 9:49 AM EDT

Josh, true. Sadly, my main opponent is the computer right now, so I need to probably get up on FIBS now and play against real people. Becoming like a computer probably isn't quite the best way to go, overall... *smile*

QBJohnnywas October 6 2008 10:07 AM EDT

Know nothing about backgammon unfortunately, but have had some experience of honeymoons...they usually make people say congratulations for getting married...

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